And Now I Want to Talk About Toilet Paper

Um.

Yeah.

I’m going down that aisle. I’ve talked about all sorts of things on this blog o mine and when Quilted Northern contacted me about being their spokesperson, I couldn’t flush the idea away. (I also can’t resist bad jokes, apparently).

This is the first of 3 posts in which I go there. And since the majority of us are moms or wives and we buy toilet paper and the only ones GIFTED enough to actually replace it when the paper tubes are empty, I thought you might like to participate (and WIN a year’s supply of The Good Stuff next week-stay tuned).

So, I’m starting off this party in the bathroom (on a stool by my sink, don’t panic), confessing an embarrassing moment:

o   Friend on Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/QuiltedNorthern and get valuable coupons

o   Follow @QuiltedNorthern on Twitter and take the Clean Quiz –  By using a fill-in-the-blank format, and by using humorous hypothetical situations to discuss the taboo, Twitter followers can respond using the #cleanquiz hashtag for a chance to win a year’s supply of toilet paper each week! And y’all, we need toilet paper.

But not so we can do this:

This is what we do with cheap toilet paper that doesn’t make the bathroom cut.

Start thinking about your bathroom confessional (keep it clean, literally) and share it next Monday in the comments as your entry to win a year’s supply of toilet paper (The Good Stuff) and more!

Do you have creative uses for toilet paper besides entertaining your children? Do tell.

Disclaimer: This post is brought to you by Quilted Northern Soft and Strong®. Please join the conversation at www.facebook.com/QuiltedNorthern or on Twitter each week @QuiltedNorthern for opportunities to win free Quilted Northern Soft and Strong® and help make the taboo talkable. Proceeds generated from these sponsored posts are going to benefit The Mercy House. See? I’ll do anything for Jesus.

Links I Love

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Show Offs Art Giveaway Winner:

Congrats to random commenter,  reader Lauren (email:cuse98@comcast.net)

Everyone else? Here’s a coupon code for 20% off just in time to order a beautiful piece of inspirational art for Christmas:

Code: WERFAM

Sale!

Coming March 2011

My book, a humorous and inspirational devotional for Moms, is on sale! (My proceeds from the book go to Mercy House).

It’s 20% of the cover price at my publisher, Cokesbury and if you apply this code : BR11 (expires Nov. 30), it’s an additional 25% off…which just makes it, $7.20, just plain cheap.

P.S. My 3 year old’s favorite thing to say right now? Yep, “Don’t Make Me Come Up There!”

P.S.S. Yes, it’s lost its effectiveness when I say it.

*Update* Code is working now.

(You can also Pre-order your copy on sale today at Amazon for only $8.10!)

Someone is Waiting on You to Jump

[God spoke these words to my heart while I was at the Relevant Conference. Perhaps they are for you? I wrote them down for me.]

We could have said no. We could have pushed away the beckoning to respond in such a manner. The months of churning and wrestling, seeking and struggling, the labor pain that gave birth to Mercy.

Would you have thought less of us? Sponsoring more kids, changing our priorities, losing the American Dream….they were enough. Maureen would have understood if we’d answered, “No, we can’t help right now.” Right?

It would have been okay for our response to be okay.

I know this.

And the truth? Standing at cliff’s edge, we wanted to say no. We asked if there was another way. We researched and begged. We cried it is too big, we can’t, we are afraid, we don’t know how.  We don’t want to love mercy.

We didn’t throw caution to the wind. We didn’t just jump into the chasm of the unknown.

We jumped into the very hands of God.

(photo source)

Why? Why do the uncomfortable? Why go beyond the comfort zone and risk so much? Every one of us has a unique purpose for our lives and our blogs. It’s a risk finding that purpose. It leaves you exposed and open to criticism and fear and failure.

It leaves you open for the supernatural, the extraordinary.

Stepping into the unknown re-destines your life.

When we jumped, it was as if He had poised people all over the world, who were waiting. Waiting for someone to say yes. We said yes, so they could say yes. Jumping, unleashed a force we didn’t know existed. Hundreds and hundreds of people who were waiting, praying, wanting the opportunity help us without even knowing us.

We are on the adventure of our lives. Yes, it’s scary. It’s uncertain. Control is gone, we are asking, believing for each new step, every day.  This journey isn’t a sprint, it’s a marathon of hills and valleys.

This is my command—be strong and courageous! Do not be afraid or discouraged. For the Lord your God is with you wherever you go. Joshua 1:9

I believe everyone who believes will stand at the edge.. You can say no. You can push away the beckoning to jump. Everyone would understand if you walked away. It would be okay to be okay. Right?

You won’t know what you’re missing, your path will continue and life will go on.

But.

What if life is better, God is nearer, peace is more certain, faith is found in the jumping?

“This is how God works: he puts his people in positions where they are desperate for his power, and then he shows his provision in ways that display his greatness.” -David Platt

What if someone is waiting on you to jump?

So they can say yes.

What are you contemplating today? What are you waiting on?

I’m linking this post up to Muthering Heights series “How big is your But?”….

WFMW: A Halloween Freebie

It’s an old debate.

Christians and Halloween.

Some do.

Some don’t.

Some just like to tell others what to do.

It’s totally up to you and while everyone won’t agree, here’s what we do:

We consider it an honor for people (who normally wouldn’t) to come to our front door. Rather than hide in a dark house and pretend we’re not home in an effort to NOT celebrate Satan’s day (as some would call it), we turn on the porch light, buy the good candy (no candy corn here) and even pass out tracts.

Here’s the one we’re using this year (after our church Trunk or Treat Party):

It’s free and printable.

Click here.

It works for us!

Don’t Be Afraid to Stand Out {Giveaway}

She’s at an age where her peers want to blend in. They don’t want to stand out.

If one wears her jeans rolled up, the next day, rolled up jeans are the new fad.

It’s a struggle to fit in. It’s age old and it’s come knocking at our door.

I spent all summer prepping and pouring into my oldest daughter. She’s nearly eleven, not so little anymore. We talked and shared and the mother-daughter bond deepened at a crucial point. She came home the other day, weary from the world and the pressure.

“I feel like I’m different from other girls,” she confessed.

“You are!” I said proudly.

“I want to be different. Mom, I know we’re trying to make a difference in the world and I know not everything is about me.”

We snuggled under the covers and celebrated the difference. I did more pouring into and building up. “We are not supposed to be like everyone else. You are fearfully and wonderfully made….”

But I know the pressure. Sometimes, even I feel it. Different from the other moms. A heart yearning for Africa, on an isolated road. Weary from the world and the pressure to be like everyone else, building my own American Dream bigger and better.

I shared my thoughts with my girl-child. She poured into me and built me up. And together, we didn’t feel so alone.

She’s growing up, in more than one way. She chooses her clothes carefully, fixing her hair just right. Her room (OH! HER ROOM), often a source of contention, has becomes hers. It looks the way she wants it to and I’m learning to pick my battles. But the other day, I saw this piece of art that one my newest sponsors, Show Off Arts makes and they sent it to me as a gift:

Romans 12:1-2 has always been my favorite verse. This picture reminded me so much of my daughter and her desire to be different. It reminded me of me.

I took my little-big girl out on a date for a sinfully-delicious cupcake the other night. I gave her the picture for her messy room:

It’s hanging over her bed as a constant reminder.

For both of us.

“Don’t Be Afraid to Stand Out”

Some of my very favorite pieces of art in my house are from Show Offs Art (also sold through Dayspring). I simply love my walls to encourage those who live within them.

Show Offs is generously giving a $75 gift certificate to a reader for their very own piece of art or two. . .

Shop around and tell me what would encourage you or someone you know.

This giveaway ends on Friday.

I’ll Meet You There

I’m still wiping sleep from my eyes and stuttering in steps of exhaustion.

The last few days have been long, and short and I’ve grown tired of hearing my own voice.

But I’ve never felt more alive.

I’ve just returned from Relevant, a Christian Blogging Conference, a first of its kind.

Know this: the weekend had very little to do with blogging.

Blogging at it’s core is egocentric: It’s about memy opinions, my thoughts, my life, and comments about my words on your screen.

I discovered in this time of beautiful connection, with laptop stored away, that I’m sick of me.

When I peel back the corner of my heart and I lay it bare, I see dark corners seeking affirmation from others, a need to fit in, to grow this space, to be known.

Like most in this online realm, I want to take my blog to the next level.

And I can.

How do we? “By going lower. By making our platform an alter.” –Ann Voskamp.

I’m still processing and on my knees in reflection, asking, waiting. Wanting more.

Of Him.

And isn’t that what it’s all about? This world is temporal. Our lives—how we live them, the glory we bring to Him—that is eternal.

I’ve left a blogging conference craving God. I’ve left behind the desire to elevate myself, to seek the approval of friends and foes. I can’t find my aspiration to be the best or the biggest. I’ve lost the desire to compete and climb the ladder of success.

I arrived at the conference, physically and emotionally empty. Deplete of energy and desire. Weary from all the doing, checking one more thing from my list, going to speak on being relevant, but feeling like I had nothing left to give.

Alone. Misunderstood. Accused of being brave, feeling so scared, my very breath hard to catch in the middle of the night, computer screen dark, burden heavy.

How can I give away what I don’t possess?

But I met God at Relevant. He showed up in the hugs of women I’d never met. He met me in the quiet. He was there in rush of people and the urging of words that poured from my lips.

I left with a heart so full it doesn’t quite fit in my chest.

I don’t know what’s in your heart today. I write these words hoping they find a landing spot. But understand that I don’t just write them for you. I write them for me. “Story is the way the Spirit of God can bind up our wounds. When these words find their mark, God heals two hearts-yours and mine.” –Ann Voskamp.

When you click away from my words and heart spilled onto this screen, I want you to run to Him.

I’ll meet you there.

meeting Ann